Monday, July 26, 2010

Bedroom project

Well, after two wonderful weeks off with Kali and Jason, I'm heading back to tackle the piles at work awaiting me. Before that, here are some pictures of the transformation of Kali's room. What a fun second week of vacation. One less room in our home now has smelly, ugly blue carpet over concrete floor. One less room has a mildewy smell. One more room that feels very homey and wonderful to its owner - Kali loves the transformation, as do we!


The process of getting the room cleared out, the carpet up and the concrete patched (thanks to a very uneven and not very level pouring of the concrete...), was all but two days of the week. Then we got to the fun part!


Complete with a reading nook to feed her new and growing addiction!


When I woke up to go to the bathroom a little after 2:15am this morning, Kali's bed lamp was on and there she was STILL READING her book. I couldn't believe it... When I very sleepily reprimanded her (I tend to not think very clearly at that hour) for putting her health at risk not getting more sleep (silly, since she likely sleep in until noon and make up for it), she innocently explained that she had no concept of the time and didn't know it had gotten that late...literally lost in her book!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

65 + quarts!

I've got that "good tired" feeling!

As of last evening, I had a pretty short, laid back list for today - maybe even some reading or a nap, since Kali is deep into her own book right now. That is, until our new neighbor stopped by to get water (they don't have running water yet) and mentioned their overly abundant apple tree with ripe apples not being used!

So Jason, Kali and I headed over this morning to pick apples, came home with two basins full and the rest is history. We'll have plenty for us and lots to share with our neighbors who are deep in home renovations, similar to the place we found ourselves 5 years ago. The final load of applesauce is in the canner...

Making applesauce is special and fun and for some reason is strongly connected with all sorts of memories for me. I think especially of my girls when I make it. I remember making applesauce with Jason and Mom when Kali was just days old out on our back deck on Wolfe St. And I remember a long day of canning applesauce with Kali while Jason worked on the front room when I was pregnant with Nora.

It is fun to have Kali becoming truly helpful in canning projects, and clearly being proud of her usefulness. She spared me a lot of cranking and a lot of washing apples. And the best part of all, is that she, after despising it for some time, has come to peace with "the apple." She not only ate a bowl of warm applesauce today, but she ate apple slices with peanut butter AND drank some apple juice. Miracles do happen!

This is just for cute. I guess they were checking out the building site...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Digging begins!

During our vacation week, much was happening on the home front. As of today, footers are dug and about ready to be poured (after a long dry spell, we have had rain more days than not so we are uncertain when that will happen!).

It's exciting to see it begin to take shape, and especially helpful for me to be able to better visualize it!

For more pictures see


We are thankful to be home after 9 days away from Keezletown. When Jason and I walked into our home, we both had a strong reaction to the spaciousness, pleasantness, and beauty of the place we inhabit when not on vacation. It was good to feel so strongly positive about returning home, and feeling more than ever that it is home!!

Highlights of our travel:

- Spending two days in Pennsburg with Jason's family before taking off on our camping adventures.

- Camping for 7 days in my family's 70's popup camper, bringing back many memories of previous camping trips. Enjoyed it more once we got the many ant nests cleaned out!!

- Watching Kali's thrill over the ocean and the waves chasing her.

- Seeing dolphins on three different occasions; a large pod very close to the shore one time where we got to see them up close jumping.

- Playing miniature golf with Kali who seemed more interested in the water and sand traps than the hole. On the final one, after receiving the maximum score on most holes, she got a hole in one and won a free game. Go figure!

- Walking the boardwalk through the wetlands at the Cape May state park (not the Wildwood boardwalk on the beach with amusement parks!) and seeing all sorts of water birds and other wildlife, as well as plants/flowers.

- Discovering a delicious breakfast involving sauteed veggies, eggs mixed with soggy bread and when cooked all together covered with melted cheese. This was a necessity when the ice in our cooler melted and got into our bread bags...

- Kali getting hours of bike riding time in around the campground - she is still nursing a few wounds...

- Walking, walking and more walking together as a family, enjoying down time and even some reading and journaling, and a few naps (though Kali did not participate in any of those.)

- A day trip to Belleplain State Forest for swimming in the lake and a fun canoe ride where Kali paddled us back to shore mostly "all by herself."

- Being joined the second weekend by good friends from PA and enjoying the hubbub and activity caused by having 4 little ones around 6 and under. Watching them reconnect and play together was heart-warming.

We came home with a number of souvenirs, most notably legs covered in bug bites, and with significantly less cash! But the reconnecting time as a family felt well worth it! More visuals from the week can be found at

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My dinner had me smiling!

It was one of those "bad planning" food days at work in which I got to 5pm and had had a snack here and there but not a veggie or fruit since leaving the house that morning - unless you count a raisin found in a cookie and a blueberry found in coffee cake...

Dinner was another story:

Fried potatoes: potatoes from our garden; homemade butter from our milk share.

Summer gravy: corn from the silent auction at our family reunion; zucchini from a neighbor, yellow squash, onions and garlic from our garden, milk from our local milk share.

Grated red beets: given by generous neighbor with an abundant garden.

Greens saute: kale, swiss chard, onions and garlic from our garden


Monday, July 5, 2010

We do have chicks!

Yes, they hatched! Not super percentages, but much better than our previous two clutches. They are peeping in the background as I write. They will make the move from house to coop sometime this week, but in the meantime I enjoy their presence and overhearing their conversations. We once again have two "miracle" chicks that took an incredibly long time to hatch and one looked deathly ill from the start. They are from Kali's chicken, Henny Hen, and while they won't be "breeders" in all likelihood they are fun to have around. They started their first night in the basin that was my Dad's bathtub as a baby. Fun!

Our garden is in a "lull" and I told Jason I'm not sure I want to see it when it is going full force if a lull still includes bringing in bowls of produce every few days. I picked our first yellow squash and zucchini last evening, as I munched on a few of the last peas. Our garlic is pulled and drying, as well as a portion of the onions. More potatoes are ready to dig, as well as more onions. We are enjoying a slow but steady supply of kale and now swiss chard, as well as basil for pesto and cooking. Jason is in awe of his over 3 foot high roma plants that are loaded with green fruit. I imagine when we return from vacation, it will be a good thing if we are well rested!!

Ready for the "dig date"

This week is to be the big ground breaking week around here. We had our work cut out for us last weekend getting the site cleared after having 6 trees felled. A few pictures of before/after and the in between. Camping in Dolly Sods wilderness with good friends and chilly nights was a perfect way to recuperate!! It was hot but good work and meaningful to do together. Kali worked by our side in short stints with lots of reading in the hammock, working on her "nest" in the woods and getting good and dirty.

I still love lamb's quarter

During our four day stint at tree clearing for the in-law quarters, Kali and I took a break one day to head up the hill to pick bowls full of lamb's quarter before it was mowed down in S's chicken runs. Such abundance! Within an hour I had picked enough to cook down, blend to fill and freeze many containers with 10 lbs of bright green slurry that will color and add nutrition to lots of pasta and bread this winter. And my "green bread" was tried out this past weekend over the campfire in our pizza pocket makers - a smashing success!! I'm surprised at how much I find now that I prefer the moist, smooth texture of this bread to other "non-green" bread. It feels like a pretty big win-win all around. I'm grateful to my folks for swapping freezers with us. The extra space this afforded us is quickly filling up with veggies and berries that will be treats come winter (which is hard to even imagine this week as we near the triple digits on the thermometer).

Losing teeth & growing up....

Pictures speak for themselves here! Her voice is extra cute right now, and corn on the cob isn't happening! She was extra happy to lose one of them in WV a few weeks back and have a visit from both the Keezletown and WV tooth fairy. It's hard to keep up with how fast she is growing and changing! She has become a regular book worm and sometimes I'll think she is ignoring me from another room in the house until I peek out and find her completely absorbed in the story she is reading. She is taking part in a summer reading program with the library, but she hardly needs any incentive to read 25 books. What I'm excited about is that somehow it helped flip the switch for her and now she gets eager to read me books ALOUD! I've been pining for that - somehow one of those little things I have always looked forward to.